For the mother looking to terminate her pregnancy for one reason or another, there are a lot of decisions for her to face in the coming months. Most importantly there are any number of methods for doing the abortion; discussing each one with the doctor will help you choose the right one. The most important thing to know when considering each procedure is the timing involved. Not all procedures can be done at any stage of the pregnancy. There are also some laws that prohibit some procedures at different stages, so knowing the details of each one will help to narrow the choices.
During the first trimester, or first 12 weeks of pregnancy, there are many options available to terminate; Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA), Dilation and Curettage (D&C), and Electric Vacuum Aspiration (EVA) are all possible surgical options that can be discussed with the doctor. There is also a chemical option available where a sort of drug cocktail is mixed to induce miscarriage.
In the second trimester of pregnancy timing becomes more important; a D&C can be done during the first few weeks of the trimester, and Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) is also available. Other methods include late-term abortion techniques such as a hysterectomy, Early Induced Labor, Intact Dilation and Extraction (IDX).
When considering late-term abortions the methods dwindle both for health reasons and for legal ones. In the ground breaking case of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court determined that each state could decide whether or not they would allow late-term abortions, as long as they made allowances for the mother’s health.
Currently, 16 states have bans on late-term abortions. Oftentimes abortions done at a later stage in pregnancy are because a mother’s health is at risk; however, it can be the case that a mother couldn’t afford to have an abortion earlier in the pregnancy. Whichever the reason though, a mother’s options decrease. Early Induced Labor and IDX are used, although currently IDX is illegal in the United States. D&E is the method commonly used for late-term abortions.
The greatest reason for controversy surrounding the abortion debate is fetal pain. Some argue that the fetus can feel pain during the first trimester, while others say pain cannot be felt until neurological receptors have developed fully in the second and third trimesters. Whatever the situation or belief, it’s important to know all of the facts when making a decision of abortion; it is a decision that will last a lifetime and will never be forgotten.